Your hustle and bustle life living New York city yearns to get away and be with nature. Hiking is a perfect way to combine exercise, fresh air and rejuvenate the spirit. Here are some secret and not so secret hiking places near New York so you can get away from it all.
1. Briarcliff-Peekskill Trail
The 12-mile long Briarcliff-Peekskill Trail is 62.2 miles from New York City, and it will take you an hour and a half to drive but it is well worth it. This trail starts at Ossining to Westchester’s County Blue Mountain Reservation, and it passes through Teatown Reservation. Hiking at the Briarcliff-Peekskill Trail will engage the senses as you marvel at the beautiful landscape, panoramic views of the Hudson River, and the fascinating Croton Dam spillway. You can visit the Peekskill Brewery for a well-deserved drink. The other highlights of the trail are: the Blue Mountain Reservation, John E. Hand Memorial Park, Croton Gorge Park, and Teatown Lake Reservation.
2. Bull Hill
The Bull Hill is located near Cold Spring, New York another 64.7 mile and hour and half drive from the city. This trail can be tricky as it is a little steep but not all the way to the point where you are rock scrambling. Next to the top of the mountain, a rocky outcrop at the right of the trail gives you excellent views of the Hudson Valley and the NYC skyline on a clear day. This hike is exhilarating as you will enjoy Cold Spring’s breeze even on a hot summer day.
3. Storm King State Park
Located in the town of Cornwall neighboring Hudson River, this state park is a 1.5-hour drive away from NYC and is among the best New York state parks for hiking. It has a hike distance of 3.5 miles that takes three hours to hike. Storm King State Park main features are the Storm King Mountain, the Hudson River, creepy caves, and the fantastic panoramic views. Parts of this hike are steep so pace yourself. Carry snacks and drinks and you will surely need it along the hike.
4. Franny Reese State Park
This hiking place has its location in Ulster County, New York. The Franny Reese State Park has over 2.5 miles of hiking trails and is a two-hour drive from NYC. There are three very leisurely trails to walk which make this park a great, easy hiking trip from New York. Apart from hiking, you can explore the vast verdant woodlands during the summer. The flat trails also make it ideal for biking during most of the year and cross-country skiing and snowshoeing when there is snow on the ground. You can also visit the 80-acre fruit farm in the neighborhood to complement your outdoor adventure.
5. Pine Meadow Lake
The 72-acre Pine Meadow Lake is located in Rockland County, NY, 38 miles from the city. The lake’s end has a 5.4 mile Pine Meadow trail. It is among New York’s most temperate hiking trails to ensure a pleasant experience. The trails are marked, but follow the signage to ensure that you stay on course to avoid confusion. This trail will challenge you because of the area’s rocky terrain so expect moderate difficulty. But you will ultimately be rewarded with some of the best, scenic hiking with excellent views of the lake.
6. Minnewaska State Park
If you need an easy trail or need to go hiking in upstate NY, you should consider visiting the Minnewaska State Park. It is 90 miles away from NYC with a 2-mile loop. You will enjoy the spectacular view of Lake Minnewaska with the deep blue color that reflects the tree-lined shores. Aim to visit during a sunny, fall day so you can take advantage of the lake’s calm waters that reflect the trees with their changing colors. This park is also suitable for boating, picnicking, and mountain biking.
7. Gertrude’s Nose Trail
The 7.8-mile Gertrude’s Nose Trail is located 80 miles away from NYC. Make sure to get there early because it can get a little crowded as many people like to hike here. This hiking trail goes halfway to Lake Minnewaska and then off through varied terrain complete with giant rock formations, and dramatic cliffs.
8. Anthony’s Nose
Anthony’s Nose offers you an enchanting round-trip hike. This hike starts with a steep area in the first 6 miles of the hike while the remaining area is smooth. At the summit, you will enjoy nice views overlooking Bear Mountain Bridge. This hike will take you nearly three hours to complete so you can do an early morning or afternoon hike but beware of the crowds.
9. Camp Smith Trail
Camp Smith Trail is a 3-mile trail starting at the Bear Mountain Inn. Prepare for a challenge as this can be some of the most rugged terrain in all of Westchester County. The military often uses this trail so don’t be surprised if you hear some live gunfire. It will take you nearly three hours to complete the whole loop.
10. Stairway to Heaven Trail
If you need a hiking experience away from the Hudson Valley, take a trip to Wawayanda State Park, New Jersey. Move to the 2.9-mile Stairway to Heaven Trail that will amaze you with exciting views of a waterfall and wildflowers. Apart from hiking, bouldering is another activity that many people enjoy on this exciting trail.
11. Fire Island National Seashore
This site is 59.6 miles which is about 2 hours from NYC. The 10-mile hiking trail along the southern coast of Long Island offers some of the best hiking near the city. You will be impressed that no cars are allowed past the ferry dock. You can take a walk towards the family campground or take a 5-mile trek distance along the beach. Besides hiking, you will enjoy the picture-perfect white sands and the Fire Island Lighthouse.
12. Neversink Reservoir
Neversink Reservoir is 90 miles away from NYC and it offers a 4.6 miles hike. Noteworthy are the Denton and Mullet Brook Falls which are a welcome reprieve to this moderate hike. In addition to the hiking experience, this trail also has two waterfalls, bald eagles, and spotted salamanders. Don’t forget to stop in the Rushing Duck Brewing Company and get a beverage to savor your accomplishment.
13. Kazimiroff Nature Trail
For a short and easy hike, you can opt to go hike at the Kazimiroff Nature Trail. Come prepared with long-sleeved clothing as you may encounter some bugs and patches of poison ivy. This great hiking trail loops through some Hunter Island section. In a short trail you will be treated to varied landscapes such as forest, meadows, and shrubs. So this little trail is not to be missed.
14. Big Indian Mountain
A little bit farther away, a 2.5-hour drive from the city takes you to Big Indian Mountain in Ulster County. It is a challenging mountain hiking trail that meanders around some boulders for a 9-mile round-trip so come prepared with your hiking boots. Start early as this will easily take you 5 to 6 hours to go through the marked trail. For the more adventurous, you could hire a professional guide and venture into the wilderness; otherwise, just stick with the marked trail.
15. Carpenter’s Loop
Very near New York but on the New Jersey side is a 5.5 mile Carpenter’s Loop trail in Fort Lee Historic Park. It is a breathtaking bluff along the Hudson River that gives you enviable views of the George Washington Bridge and New York City skyline. One of the best things about this trail is that you can use public transportation or your bike to get here.
New Yorkers definitely have outlets to experience nature within a short drive from the city. So whether you are an avid hiker or just like walking in nature, there is something for everyone here.